This post was written by our founder and real estate investor, Jamie Turner
Investors, business owners, and real estate professionals find time more scarce than many other people. Clients are demanding, there are more communication channels, not to mention the administrative burden of managing a business. There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many tasks we can do ourselves. My Virtual Assistants have really helped improve my business and my life.
This year I started taking on a number of smaller real estate development projects in Philadelphia in addition to ongoing work at my other properties out of state and in Canada. The amount of time I spend on the phone is just mind-boggling. After persistent complaints from people around me, I decided to start pushing as much work as I could to other people.
I always sent some work to my Virtual Assistants (VAs), but decided to consciously send as much as I possibly could as an experiment to see just how much of my time I could free up.
Here are a few of the things I did:
First, every time I found myself calling a toll-free phone# for anything real estate related, I stopped myself and asked a Virtual Assistant to do it
For example, I stopped calling to turn utilities on or off at each property
This saved me anywhere from 10 minutes (SC electric company) to 7 hours per request (Philadelphia’s water service has an infuriating telecom setup)
Second, when I was out and about in the city and saw distressed properties I wanted to buy, I did my normal routine of taking down the address to research the property & contact the owner about trying to purchase it
What I changed was sending the list to a VA to research the property, such as owner’s address, phone#, how much they’re delinquent on taxes, etc. and send back a completed spreadsheet
My VA made the cold calls
The research took about three hours, and phone calls about two, saving me five hours
I now have two hot leads I’m working on myself
Finally, I needed to do some due diligence on one of my larger projects; the property management company gives me an owner’s portal to view income & expenses, but it isn’t organized very well
I copied all the transactions for the past three months and pasted them into a few tabs in a spreadsheet
A VA diligently organized the information into a template I had, making it easy for me to see rent collected per unit, and expenses per unit
I identified at least one expense that actually belonged to a different owner; the property manager reversed the $800 charge and apologized profusely
The Virtual Assistant cost $30, and saved me either $770 or about five hours of time, depending on your perspective
There are more expenses I’m investigating
I always knew my Virtual Assistants were good, but my recent experiment validated three things:
My VAs are better than me at cold calling!
There are so many things they can do, helping realtors, investors, or business owners
I need to constantly re-evaluate the work I do day-to-day and make changes to make time for more important things
Speaking of more important things, my life has improved dramatically since making some changes. Here are just some of the benefits:
With the extra time I’ve had, I spend more time building relationships and expanding my business; I now go for coffee meetings once per week to meet someone new and expand my local real estate network
I’m exercising more, and took my golf lessons to the next level (my instructor says I’m finally ready to play with other people now)
Most importantly, I spend more time with family; my girlfriend recently pulled me aside to say how much she appreciated I actually spend time to go out with her and her friends for dinner
With all these changes, my business has been growing, I feel better now I’m more physically active. Most importantly I feel happier that my businesses and life are really under control.
It’s nice being able to pass work onto others. Whether or not you’re a client of Hands On Tap, I encourage you to take inventory of your day to day work and look for improvements.